Please join us for this spring’s final planting along the I-205 Multi-Use Path on Earth Day weekend, Saturday, April 23, at SE Salmon Street and SE 94th Avenue. (Read more about the event below.)
By Shelli Romero
On Saturday, March 19, Oregonians in the Portland metro area woke up to a glorious day of sunshine, which invigorated more than 80 volunteers at a tree planting in the Lents neighborhood of Portland. This marked the eighth of twelve ODOT and Friends of Trees public plantings along the I-205 Multi-Use Path during the 2010-11 planting season.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, the Tzu Chi Academy operates schools throughout the United States. Tzu Chi’s education mission emphasizes “kindness, compassion, joy, and selflessness,” which are the “Four Immeasurables” under the Buddhist teachings. Tzu Chi Education U.S.A. aims to promote character in the United States, emphasizing the values of gratitude, respect and love.
The local Tzu Chi Academy is a private school in the Conestoga area of Beaverton. It is the only Tzu Chi Academy in Oregon and opened its doors just a year ago. The school’s 30 students range in age from four to nine. Students enjoy a rigorous curriculum of studies on Saturdays, and teachings include Chinese language, culture, and humanities.
Mei-Shan Wang, the public relations manager for the Beaverton-based Tzu Chi Academy, came to the March 19 planting and helped coordinate others from the Academy to join her. The 43 volunteers from the school included families with children ages four to 16. Wang explained that she had planted trees once before with a friend at a Friends of Trees planting, so she contacted Friends of Trees to join in the March 19 event.
“The Tzu Chi Academy’s teachings include the mantra, ‘Love the Earth, Protect the Earth, and be Environmentally Friendly,’” explains Wang. March 19 was the beginning of spring break, and the Tzu Chi Academy opted to bring students and their parents out to plant trees as part of a community service project. A total of 130 new trees were planted.
“Planting trees meshes with our goal because this year we are focused on environmental protection. With so many natural disasters, we want to do our part to save the earth,” says Wang. In addition to educating young people through the Tzu Chi Academy, the Tzu Chi Foundation focuses on four areas: charity including international relief, medicine services, education, and humanity and culture.
“I think planting trees is so educational, and I am thrilled with the parents and kids for coming out. At Tzu Chi Academy, we instill values such as love the earth and save the planet, and we want to make planting with Friends of Trees an annual event,” says Wang.
Mei-Shan Wang worked along other volunteers to plant trees and shrubs along the I-205 Multi-Use Path, a collaborative effort among ODOT, Friends of Trees, Metro and more than a dozen other foundations, businesses, agencies, and community groups. With funding from Metro’s Nature in Neighborhoods Capital Grant program, ODOT, Friends of Trees and hundreds of volunteers will add thousands of trees and shrubs to existing ODOT property along the I-205 Multi-Use Path over a three-year period.
The project is part of ODOT’s overall vision to make significant improvements to the 16.5 mile I-205 Multi-Use Path used by commuters, neighbors, residents, bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit users.
–Romero is Public Policy & Community Affairs Manager, ODOT-Region I.
Other spring plantings along the I-205 Multi-Use Path included an April 2 planting near Johnson Creek Boulevard, which was sponsored by The Standard, and an April 9 planting at Dean Creek Hill in Clackamas, which was sponsored by Collier Arbor Care.
The final planting along the path this spring is on Earth Day weekend, April 23, at SE Salmon Street and SE 94th Avenue. ODOT and Friends of Trees will join Metro Council President Tom Hughes and East Portland Action Plan’s Jim Chasse in welcoming volunteers. The planting is sponsored by Cantel Sweeping.
In addition, at-risk youth from Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, whose jobs were created through the Portland Development Commission‘s support for the I-205 greening project, will assist with the planting.
This week the Women’s Transportation Seminar announced that it will award ODOT and Friends of Trees its 2011 Leadership in Diversity Award this May for promoting diversity and equity through the greening project.